Radar towers with automatic video cameras for target identification. Seismic sensors to detect and differentiate human footfalls from cattle and smugglers from border patrol agents. Satellite phones to communicate outside of cell phone contact. Laptops in border patrol vehicles linked to a satellite comm system to integrate the automated sensors with agents ready to be dispatched. And software designed to integrate it all into a seamless, virtual border fence around the Sasabe, Arizona border crossing. This is the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) and Boeing’s Project 28, part of the Secure Border Initiative (SBI). And in December, 2007, DHS finally took possession of the prototype for 45 days of border patrol testing – months late and way over budget. Continue reading
It takes more — or less — than passing your citizenship test to become a true American.
“Very few Americans actually function as citizens anymore.”
– Scott Ritter
It wasn’t that long ago that the sight of a roomful of immigrants after they’ve passed their citizenship tests warmed our hearts. Who could fail to be moved as they raised their right hands and swore to support the Constitution and obey the laws of the United States?
In recent years, however, American hostility toward illegal immigrants has poisoned the well of our welcome. Not even those who qualify to take the test to become naturalized citizens are immune. Our ambivalence is now also reflected in the test itself.
Heretofore, the questions were multiple-choice civics class specials. But beginning in October 2008 a new set of questions, which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have been trying out for two years, will be incorporated into the test. It’s ostensible motivation is to generate a better understanding of our history and government institutions in those who seek to make the US their new homes. Continue reading
I figured: if you want to go look in my mouth, go right ahead.
â€” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, speaking to 250 people inside an Iowa municipal hall that resembled a horse barn.
Itâ€™s enough that freshman Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) has on display all his favorite animals that he has hunted down, killed and eaten â€” everything he kills he must eat, according to his hunting philosophy. But now, the office has taken to decorating the animals with fluffy red and white fur Santa Claus caps. â€™Tis the season â€¦ to dress up your dead quarry.
In the latest example of how the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has utterly failed to understand and adapt to the changing music landscape, RIAA has brought suit against a man for copying his legally purchased CDs to his personal computer for personal use.
In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.
The industry’s lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are “unauthorized copies” of copyrighted recordings.
Welcome to the fifth and final installment of the Scholars & Rogues year-end wrap-up. Today we tackle the dirty, but oddly riveting world of politics. We’ll take a couple shots at the even dirtier world of media that makes it all possible. Let’s start at the top, shall we?
George Walker Bush: I’ve been telling my Republican friends for five years now that Dubya was going to do more damage to their party than an army of Hillarys could dream of doing. And 2007 was the year where I think the truth of this proposition finally started becoming evident. Scandals at the Justice Department and World Bank did him no favors, nor did the conviction of Scooter Libby (which necessitated the most politically debilitating pardon/commutation sequence since Ford saved Nixon). Iraq got worse by the day and we’re not seeing a lot of GOP presidential hopefuls looking to surf that Bush legacy. Continue reading
Sylvie had been cut off mid sentence. Alexâ€™s prospective assassins must have set up a commlink jammer that cut out the cemeteryâ€™s remaining wifi service. That Kawashira-san would spend that expense meant that Alex had been right to arm himself for war back at his penthouse. He just hoped that his assault rifle, armor, and body would hold up against the pounding they were about to take. He had a couple of nasty surprises literally up his sleeves and, if he was lucky, his feigned limp would initially make some of the yakuza soldiers overconfident initially. Alex figured he could use every advantage he could get.
Welcome to the final SVR of 2007. Let’s drum the old year out and the new one in with some of the year’s best drumming video finds, shall we?
First off, somebody get this kid a contract.
The first entry in Scholars & Rogues’s 2008 Wish List for the World
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have fled the carnage and poverty that our intrusion into their affairs has unleashed. They’ve been admitted to two countries ill-equipped to accommodate them: Jordan and Syria. Meanwhile, the US has kept its borders closed to all but a few token Iraqis.
This past September, though, perhaps in response to the heat it’s been taking, the State Department created the position of Senior Coordinator for Iraqi Refugees for one John Foley. The stated intent is to speed up the process of allowing Iraqis to immigrate to the US. But there’s a catch — two actually.
One, vetting each applicant, expected to consist of interviews with a series of US officials, could take between four to six months. So much for speeding up the process. Continue reading
Hi. I’m Sam Smith, and I’m running for President.
The discipline question is one of the most difficult ones facing this campaign, and even as we construct the strategic platform plank we’re sobered by the tactical realities that must be faced.
Some schools are dangerous places. A lot more are significantly less effective than they should be because of disruptive students and the fact that we seem not to have the mechanisms to deal with them. A couple problem students can have a dramatic impact on the function of the classroom and the resulting learning by other students. The DS08 campaign does not believe anyone has a right to infringe upon the learning atmosphere, because in doing so they undermine the ultimate goal of universal opportunity. Continue reading
Alex sat on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and waited for Kawashira-san and his soldiers to show up. The Met was more or less in its original form, saved via a concerted effort by the people of New York to rescue one of the cityâ€™s few remaining landmarks. It had been covered in a thick protective coating that made the limestone look like bone-colored wax. Anything less and the Indiana limestone would have melted away long ago….
Hi, and welcome to day four of our 2007 review. Today’s topic – the year in sports. And what a year it was – great competition, exciting on-field action, outstanding team accomplishments, and all of it trumped by off-field drama.
Barry B*nds: The real homerun king is Hank Aaron, and don’t you forget it. It wasn’t a pretty summer in sports, and the ugliest of the ugly was this roided-up icon of arrogance and entitlement. He may go to jail and he may not, but rest assured, nobody is ever going to write a Field of Dreams-style epic about him. Let this be a lesson, kids – flaxseed oil is for losers.
In other news, some of Barry B*nds supporters called our anti-Barry hatred racism. Hank Aaron was reportedly stunned to learn that he’s been white all these years. Continue reading
By Martin Bosworth
By now you know that Benazir Bhutto is dead and Pakistan is in turmoil. I can’t say anything that Euphrosyne didn’t already say beautifully, so I won’t belabor what is already known. I also recommend Stirling Newberry’s comments on what this means for America and our declining empire.
Never one to pass up an opportunity to make himself look good using others’ deaths as the backdrop, Rudy Giuliani was quick to post a statement that the Terrorists ™ must be stopped from continuing their War On Us (caps are his, not mine). And he wasn’t the last. Continue reading
Writing fiction is a bitch when you’re starting out. You come up with what you hope is a new idea that will draw people in, you develop the characters and setting, figure out the rough plot, and then find that you started writing your story in the wrong tense, or you started too early in the story and need to jump ahead to the climax, or that it’s 8,000 words too long for publication in the magazines and e-zines that might otherwise publish it. Even if you overcome all those problems, you find that everyone in the world is trying to get published too and that the editors are too swamped to do more than tell you that they don’t want your story for some reason.
I’ve had most of those problems over the last decade of writing fiction, but I’ve decided to try and bypass the last one by self-publishing my first few story or three. And finally, more than 10 years after starting to write my first short story, and having it grow to the length of a novella, I’ve self-published it over at my own website. It’s over 10,000 words long so I’m publishing it in three parts over the next few days, and it’s somewhat violent toward the end – consider yourself warned.
If you’re so inclined, check it out, and if you like it, let your friends know about it too. Thanks.
Welcome to part three of S&R’s first annual year-end round-up. I’ll begin by apologizing for my colleagues, who have wasted a lot of their time (and yours) yammering about “important” issues. Of course, I admire their intellectual gravity, but let’s be honest – that sort of seriousness is really misplaced when the intended audience is the American public. As we have observed before, the US is not exactly a nation of thinkers.
So today 2007 in Review will be addressing the public interest. For those who have forgotten, the public interest is what the public is interested in. Continue reading
By Ann Ivins
For who among us could presume to pity her?
Benazir Bhutto lived her life exactly as she believed: an idealist and a pragmatist, a fighter and a pacifist, a mother, a wife, and a leader of nations. She walked among her people while her opponents hid behind walls and guns.
Every political party in Pakistan, including Musharref’s, is under assault by religious extremists; suicide bombers attack almost every day, trading their pathetic, wasted lives for a shot at personal glory. They avoid the faces of the dead and the complexities of living in the real world, and they use an entirely human perversion of faith as their excuse.
Look at her killers. Look at her. Look at the people who lead us now and remember: evil is willing to kill for a cause. Good is only willing to die for one.
By Martin Bosworth
GigaOm’s Om Malik points to a story detailing how broadband access is available for practically every city and community in Taiwan. This is a tremendous accomplishment for any country and one to be proud of, but it also draws more attention to the fact that the United States–supposedly the technological leader and innovator of the free world–is falling further and further behind in its adoption of broadband Internet services nationwide. Continue reading
Weâ€™ve completed our latest S&R election reader poll, and here are the results.
Q: Which candidate do you currently favor for the Republican nomination?
- Â Ron Paul (93)
- John McCain (16)
- Other (15)
- Mike Huckabee (6)
- Rudy Giuliani (5)
- Fred Thompson (3)
- Tom Tancredo (3)
- Mitt Romney (2)
- Duncan Hunter (0)
Up now in the column to your right – we’d like to know what you think about some of the more prominent third-party and unaffiliated candidates.
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the first wave power program in the United States. The program is for four 250 kW bouys anchored in Makah Bay off the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Finavera Renewables, a renewable energy company out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and Portland, Oregon, is the owner of this particular technology, bouys that use wave motion to force water through a turbine to generate electricity. While the project has only been granted a 5-year conditional approval from the FERC, Finavera hopes to generate enough power from wave motion to power 150 homes. And if this technology works out, then wave motion along the Pacific coast could generate up to 12% of the U.S.’s present power needs if 100% utilized. Continue reading
Welcome back to day 2 of the S&R Year in Review. Today we tackle some of 2007′s big moments in news and current events.
The Invasion and Occupation of Iraq Surpasses the American Civil War in Duration: The United States’ involvement in World War I lasted only 19 months and World War II lasted 44 months for the United States, even though the war itself was nearly six years long. The occupation of Iraq (aka the Iraq War) outlasted World War II in November of 2006, making the duration of U.S. involvement in Iraq the third longest foreign occupation in U.S. history. The American Civil War lasted 48 months, and the Iraq occupation surpassed that duration on March 20, 2007. This makes the Iraq occupation the third longest running period of continuous conflict in U.S. history, behind only the Vietnam War and its sister conflict in post-Taliban Afghanistan. Continue reading